Skip to main content

FOL Book Discussions for 2013/14

We are pleased to announce the schedule for the 2013/2014 FOL Book Discussions.  This is the 12th season, and once again we invite our Friends and other interested community members to join us as we discuss books from past and present.  Each discussion will be led by a UNCG faculty member.  To reserve a spot at one or more discussion, please register on our website, or contact Barry Miller at 336-256-0112.

All book discussions will meet on Mondays in the Hodges Reading Room

Monday, September 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. 
Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Steven Cureton, Sociology.

This year, the Sociology Department is celebrating its Centennial with a series of events that look at "Inequality and Social Justice in a Changing World." The Friends of the UNCG Libraries are excited to team up with Sociology for our first book discussion.  As The New York Review of Books wrote, "Now and then a book comes along that might in time touch the public and educate social commentators, policymakers, and politicians about a glaring wrong that we have been living with that we also somehow don't know how to face. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander is such a work."  

Listen to an interview with the author at NPR.

Monday, October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt. 
Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. David Wharton, Classical Studies.

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Award, The Swerve tells the story of how the translation of Roman philosopher Lucretius's On the Nature of Things "fueled the Renaissance." Publishers Weekly writes "In this gloriously learned page-turner, both biography and intellectual history, Harvard Shakespearean scholar Greenblatt turns his attention to the front end of the Renaissance as the origin of Western culture's foundation: the free questioning of truth."

Listen to NPR's review of the book.

Monday, November 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm: The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman. 
Faculty Discussion Leaders: Dr. Janne Cannon (Microbiology and Immunology) and Dr. Rob Cannon (Biology).

 John Tayman tells the story of Hawaii's infamous leper colony, in existence from 1866-1967. The New York Times praised Tayman's work, "Tayman's narrative pulls the reader beyond the superficial, medical horrors of leprosy to the more devastating human horrors that lie beneath. In doing so, he has brought to light the profound dignity of his subjects.

Hear an interview with the author on NPR.

World War I began in 1914, 100 years ago.  To mark this somber anniversary, the FOL Book Discussion Group will read two books about the war. 

Monday, February 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Ron Cassell, History. 

 In 1929, Robert Graves published his memoir of World War I. Now remembered more perhaps for I, Claudius and his poetry, Goodbye to All That was an instant best seller--running "through some 30,000 copies within the first few weeks of its publication," according to the Times  of London.  In his introduction of the book, historian Paul Fussell notes "one thing that makes Goodbye to All That so permanently readable is its happy management of the literal by imposing on it such devices of fiction as suspense, surprise, and irony."  

Abe Books produced a great video review of the book, which you can see here

Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm: The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Keith Cushman, English.

Rebecca West was a renowned journalist, critic, and novelist. Her first novel, The Return of the Soldier, was published before the war ended.  An early review in  The New York Times sums up the plot,"Since the outbreak of the great war all sorts of situations have entered into hitherto peaceful and commonplace private lives, situations many of which are full of dramatic and tragic possibilities. And although the case of amnesia upon which Rebecca West founds her novel would not have been impossible in time of peace, it is far more probable in time of war. It was shell-shock which made Christopher Baldry lose his memory, forget all that had taken place during fifteen years, and go back to the time when he was a boy of 21. . .  It is of what happened after he came back home to the wife, whose very existence he had forgotten, that the book tells."

Open Road Media has produced a brief video to introduce readers to West.

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Serena by Ron Rash.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly, English.

The Washington Post's review sums up the novel well: "Serena, the Lady Macbeth of Ron Rash's stirring new novel, wouldn't fret about getting out the damned spot. She wouldn't even wash her hands; she'd just lick it off. I couldn't take my eyes off this villainess, and any character who does ends up dead. Alluring and repellant, she's the engine in a gothic tale of personal mayhem and environmental destruction set in the mountains of North Carolina during the Depression."

By the time this discussion rolls around, the Hollywood version of the book will have been released.  Sadly, the movie is being filmed in the Czech Republic and not in our North Carolina mountains!


  1. I have just read The Swerve and can't wait for the discussion. It compliments another book that I am reading: History of the conflict between religion and science by John William Draper. The History book was written by a scientist in the 1860s, and banned by the Church.
    I am working through The Colony, not a fast read but important as it reveals the history of medical science and germ theory. We have seen similar decisions made in social and political circles today to isolate or hide those experiencing the effects of conditions for which we do not have full understanding.


Post a Comment